Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Miss The Alleys.

The other day I was walking past an alley and what I saw gave me pause.

Was a mugging taking place?

An over-large gathering of rats?

Was it a drug deal going bad?

Was it someone being chased down into the alley?


There were people at this party, hanging out, smiling and drinking wine... an alley.

Hanging out. Smiling. Drinking wine. In an alley.

This city's gone to sh*t.

The economic infrastructure of Washington, DC and with that change comes gentrification. A side effect of that is that, some have demanded that our local city services improve. Trash collected in a more timely manner. Snow removed almost as soon as it hits the ground.

I wish you could have seen this thing. It had been repaved. It had been redone to look like the city sidewalks. It looked inviting.

It looked like a trap.

The people who owned the property overlooking it, had hung potted plants. Balconies had been added so that its occupants could enjoy a scenic view of said alley.

Garbage. None could be found other than in my exclamation.

What happened to the alley?

When I was growing up, the alley was something to be feared and respected. The alley was the place where the things your momma didn't want you to get into happened.

The alley was the place where only the rats, pushers, junkies and trash collectors dared enter.

The alley was a place where Peter Parker could leave Spider-Man behind.

The alley was a place where people who took shortcuts got cut short.

The alley was no place to wear pearls and take the family.

The alley was never any place I ever wanted to be on a Friday night. I respect the implied threat.

The alley was a place where bad things happened to people, good and bad. I guess I should be happy that people feel as though the city is safe enough to hang out in Martha Stewart-esque alleyways but what gets me is the lack of respect.

A certain lack of respect for the city. A certain loss of what had come before.

A certain lack of appreciation of just how far this city has come.

I miss the alleys, on purpose and out of respect.


SallyP said...

But...but...are there still abandoned warehouses?

Harvey Jerkwater said...

As a fellow resident of the DC area, I can answer that.

No, sallyp, they're all filled with supervillains and/or yuppies. Fresh new supervillains have to have their HQs out in the 'burbs.

You can't even build a TerrorDome under the Potomac anymore, since the riverbed is so clogged with them that the EPA is giving the local villains grief.

It's just not the same.

On a more serious note, Devon's right, and it's weird. "Alley" should mean "run like hell," not "potted plants and pinot noir." That it has changed so much is surreal.

David said...

As a longtime Washintonian, I agree that there's been a heck of a change. However, I don't think that is automatically bad: I'd rather that alleys have extra yuppies than extra pushers...

Devon Sanders said...

Trust me, those extra pushers are still there.

They just smart enough not to hang out in alleys.

Christopher said...

Ya' know..there's TWO things in DC that would have EVER prevented Batman from coming into being..

1. Alleys (as Devon has said)
2. Movie theaters (single screen showing Mask of Zorro). An extinct beast.

How is the Batman of the 21st or the 22nd Century to be born??

Some Paris Hilton/Brittany Spears daughter's parents shot in front of an "Entertainment Center Venue" after a particularly racuous showing of "The Prarie Home Companion"???

Rambo said...

"The alley was no place to wear pearls and take the family."

You're a clever bastard.

Devon Sanders said...

Clever and a bastard.

Right on both counts.

Rambo said...

Damn, see? There it is again!

Jon Hex said...

Alleys are for rabid dogs and eluding the po-po. Where's the sense of propiety?

Josh said...

Christopher--Yeh, alleys --but movie houses? What's wrong with the Batman Begins origin?